Haymarket says “no thanks” to VRE

Who wants to live at the end-of-the-line, the place where commuters transfer from cars to Virginia Railway Express (VRE)?

Who wants a multi-story parking garage that brings a cloud of exhaust twice a day? Who wants massive congestion from Fauquier and Front Royal commuters that will rarely stop to buy even a cup of coffee, in the hurry to git-n-go?

Not Haymarket.  On May 4, the Town Council went on record, officially opposing plans to locate a VRE station at Haymarket. 

Those elected officials understand that transportation dreams – with no link to land use reality – can create nightmares of the future.  Town officials support VRE extension, but are thinking ahead about congestion and quality of life in the town.   

Haymarket has pushed past do-something-do-anything-even-if-it-is-dumb, and avoided simplistic Not In My Back Yard narrowness, by identifying a better place where the end-of-line should be located. 

In the VRE Gainesville-Haymarket Extension Implementation Plan, a new end-of-line station was identified at Route 15, south of the intersection with I-66 just west of Haymarket.  Locating the station there would expand VRE’s “catchment” area west (further into the Shenandoah Valley) and south (further into Fauquier and Culpeper counties).   However, in VRE’s more-detailed Tier 2 assessment in the VRE Gainesville-Haymarket Alternatives Anyalysis & Feasibility Study, it’s clear that wetlands and noise issues are severe constraints to building in Haymarket.

Locating the end-of-line station on the other side of Route 29 will cater more to Prince William residents living today on Linton Hall Road.  There’s no opportunity to create a new town center on the western border of Haymarket, but stations on the other side of Route 29 could stimulate transit-oriented developments at Wellington or Innovation.  Town centers at the end-of-the-line station don’t have to be dominated by parking garages that encourage car commuting by non-county residents.

The Planning Commission eliminated the Harmarket station in Table 3 of the  draft Transportation Chapter of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.  Now the elected officials in Haymarket have also spoken out.  VRE is paying attention, but watch for the weasel-wording to keep the option open of a later extension to Haymarket.  

Dreams die hard.  So now it’s up to the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) to ensure we link land use to transportation, and don’t fling money at an end-of-line station that supports same-old sprawl rather than new high-density, walkable communities. 

Someday, the BOCS will adopt an updated 2030 Comprehensive Plan.  It needs to focus on Innovation/Wellington as the end-of-line location, and stop proposing a nightmare for Haymarket.


3 comments so far

  1. Judy on

    Thanks for nothing. You can plan your walkable communites of the futue, but we live here now, with no good way to get to work in DC except a heavily congested, miserable, commute polluted with fossil fuels. I live at the western edge of PW county, so it takes about 40 min just to drive to the exisiting Broad Run rail station, another hour into DC. Or, there’s the bus. Drive to the stop in Manassas, ride the bus to Vienna metro, ride metro to final destination, 1hr. 40 min. each way. Maybe some folks who live out here are rich enough to not have to commute, and therefore have the luxury to whine, “we don’t want a train station in our community.” How about trying to support the rest of us, the majority who need a way to work and whose proprety taxes support the community.

  2. […] to extend the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) to the edge of the Rural Area at Haymarket, over objections of town officials, is one example of encouraging more sprawl through […]

  3. GQ on

    I can’t believe that this was voted against by our “so-called” representatives. They certainly were not voicing the wishes of the majority. Clearly they need a longer commute—right out of Haymarket for good!

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